Employment Technical Paper [EXAM 112]
4. Demand for Employment Land
4.1.1. Chapter 6 of the Employment Land Review (ELR) (ED C08) identifies that within Central Bedfordshire there is a forecast increase of 23,900 jobs over the plan period. This was identified using the Experian model and was considered within the ELR to broadly balance with the labour supply at the time and in the future.
4.1.2. For clarity, and to promote and enhance the local economy, the forecasted jobs Objectively Assessed Need (jobs OAN) was included within the local plan as a minimum of 24,000 new jobs.
4.1.3. Chapter 6 of the ELR also identifies that market-led intelligence suggests very high demand for both strategic (national/regional) warehousing and 'new generation' warehousing. This type of strategic employment is considered to be 'footloose' and will largely move to where there is supply of good quality and highly accessible land available.
4.1.4. Chapter 9 of the ELR concludes that in terms of office employment, the sectors that are forecast to grow within Central Bedfordshire are professional services, administrative and support services and real estate. In relation to industrial employment - land transport, storage and post (distribution), specialised construction activities and wholesale are the main areas of forecast employment growth. It is also concluded that there is scope in addition to the above, for specialist users and the strategic warehousing and distribution sector.
4.1.5. The 30th September letter from the Inspectors' describes providing strategic warehousing sites to cater for 'footloose' demand in the logistics and distribution sector as 'a positive response to substantial market demand along the M1/A1 corridors.'
4.1.6. The jobs OAN included within the local plan was discussed during the Examination Hearing Sessions. No neighbouring authorities or other Duty to Cooperate (DtC) bodies raised any concerns about the jobs OAN and no concerns about the inclusion of a minimum of 24,000 jobs within the local plan have been expressed by the Inspectors. Furthermore, no additional evidence was requested by the Inspectors to clarify the proposed jobs target or how it was identified.
4.1.7. During the Hearing Sessions, the Inspectors requested confirmation of the sites across Central Bedfordshire, both existing and new allocations, that would contribute to the delivery the 24,000 jobs. This has subsequently been compiled and a modification is proposed to include this as a new appendix within the plan.
4.2. Employment demand update
4.2.1. Notwithstanding the commentary above, an update of the employment land position has been undertaken by Stantec (formerly PBA). This update is set out within the Employment Land Update Note (EXAM 109).
4.2.2. Having considered the most recent outcome of the Experian model (September 2019), the Employment Land Update Note (ELU) identifies that whilst there have been some changes and it demonstrates that some sectors are growing faster and some slower, it shows that a minimum of 24,000 new jobs over the plan period is still a 'sound' target.